Five lessons from Nehemiah to find the life you’ve been longing for.
The life you want isn’t found in the latest fad or quick fix, but by becoming captured by God’s glory. Important lessons can be found in the life of Nehemiah, a Jewish man serving as the cupbearer of Artaxerxes, the Persian king, in 445 BC.
The Jewish people had been exiled by Nebuchadnezzar, so Nehemiah was living far from Jerusalem and the Jewish homeland. But when Nehemiah learned of the plight of his people in Jerusalem, he risked his comfort and even his life to help restore the walls of the city. By leaving his comfort zone, he ended up finding the life of impact and fulfillment he had been looking for.
Here are five lessons from Nehemiah about how to be captured and transformed by the glory of God:
- Let God move you deeper into His story.
At the beginning of the book of Nehemiah, he asked about the Jews who were returning to Jerusalem. He wanted to know how God’s people were doing.
We exist for God and His Kingdom, and that is where we truly flourish and grow. When we’re captured by His glory, we want to move deeper into His story and His purpose for our lives.
- Let what breaks God’s heart break your heart.
When Nehemiah heard of the great trouble and disgrace of his people, the news cut him to the heart: “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire. When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 1:3-4 NIV).
Do you let your heart be broken by the things that break God’s heart? Does your heart break for lost souls and the troubling issues facing our world?
- Recognize that God will keep His covenant promises.
Even in his distress, Nehemiah trusted God to keep His promises: “The God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love” (Nehemiah 1:5 NIV). We, too, can trust God to keep His covenant promises.
- Pray repentantly.
Nehemiah got raw and desperate in his prayers. He confessed his sins and the sins of the Israelites. When was the last time you wept over your personal sins and the sins of others? I’m convinced God would do great things if we got serious about praying repentantly.
- Pray expectantly.
In chapter 1, verses 10-11, Nehemiah prayed with confidence, because he had already experienced answered prayer: “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand.” He remembered that God had redeemed His people out of captivity in Egypt, and he’s asking God to do it again.
What great things do you want Jesus to do in your life? Do you truly trust Him with every area of your life? Do your prayers and your life reflect this trust?
Perhaps your dream is too small. I would rather be accused of expecting God to do too much than be satisfied with a mediocre life.
God gave Nehemiah a dream so big that it mobilized a broken people to arise and rebuild. I believe God is on the verge of rebuilding some broken lives once again as we trust Him today.
Derwin L. Gray is a former professional football player in the NFL and the Founding and Lead Pastor of Transformation Church in South Carolina, in the Charlotte metro region. Learn more at DerwinLGray.com
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